After The Apocalypse Review

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During the Soviet era, the people of a town in Kazakhstan were exposed to nuclear radiation. Now a local doctor wants to prevent those with suspect genes from giving birth. Bibigual is affected and so begins her struggle for the right to have her child.


Between 1949-89, the Soviet Union detonated 456 atomic devices in an area of north-east Kazakhstan called the Polygon. No one can categorically prove that the bombs are directly responsible for the birth defects that have begun to blight the descendents of peasants who were treated like human guinea pigs. But while Dr Toleukhan Nurmagambetov wants to introduce compulsory genetic passports to prevent undesirable breeding, victims like Bibigul Balargazinova defend the right to have children. Amidst the stunning images, shocking revelations and emotive encounters, Antony Butts retains an admirable equanimity that forces viewers to draw their own conclusions. But no documentary is entirely neutral and the intentions behind the discussions of state responsibility, scientific arrogance and the perils of nuclear warfare are readily evident. Nevertheless, this is compelling and indelibly disturbing.

Powerful and moving documentary that manages to stay on the right side of balance.